While talking lesser or humiliating someone’s sentiments, faith, parents or something that comprises self-respect or identity is heinous and condemnable, killing or intimation is barbaric and primitive. Any act that indulges in such activities, such as killing or supporting a killer, is criminal as well.
Freedom (of speech or expression) does not mean, you can transgress lines to disrespect someone’s faith. However, though wrong, Samuel Paty’s behavior does not call for beheading. It is barbaric, primitive and an act of the deprived mind. Erdogan and Mahathir, supporting such acts are even deplorable beyond criminal instincts. I have shared my rationale why Erdogan, Imran Khan, or Mahathir are bigger culprits than the ones who committed senseless beheadings.
The beheading of Samuel Paty and the subsequent beheading of three more innocents is indicative of arousal of a primitive instinct.
I can pardon that common man’s sentiment because those are outliers. What is condemnable is the rhetoric from Erdogan, Imran, and Mahathir. These are no outliers, they are supposed to assuage the sentiments of the extreme right, reassure these folks from the lost track and bring them back to the faith.
I have truly not studied Islam, however, I presume, their religious ethos must be enshrined with the tenets and guiding principles with a humane approach, or else no faith can rise to this level of acceptance.
However, such beheadings and the support from extremist leaders, to exploit the sentiments and consolidate their base is not just irresponsible but criminal.
Criminal and Blasphemous
Because that’s not what their faith stands for. It is a disservice to their religion and if there is any blasphemy, they are indulging in that. Another aspect, that cannot be forgiven, is their utter callousness towards those sincere seekers of faith who do not subscribe to these thoughts, are often in pain and anguish to see these extreme ideologies defining their faith, and their ultimate suffering because of a general perception of the common man, who thinks, that all Muslims are extremists. These common Muslim practitioners are the ultimate victims of such global sensationalism.
The Irresponsible Liberal Press
Of course, it starts with the fourth estate. Say, I do some idiotic act, presume i display a picture of some deity from some faith, do we have to truly publish that? As though, there is nothing left to be reported. Can the press be responsible? Can we reign the fourth estate? Can ratings have some compliances?
Privacy not for display
It has become a public showcasing of our mediocre allegiance to God. However, being a devout person with deep trust in my Lord, I believe it is personal and needs privacy. It’s a sublime moment of realization and his/her presence. It offers guidance and provides strength during this tenuous journey, on earth with all our material trappings. Suffice it to say, Its fulfilling experience.
Best, we go back
When the migrants from Syria and the Middle East moved to Germany, they were shocked to see men and women using a common swimming pool. They insisted for creating a different pool for ladies. However, it has never been a tradition for Europeans to segregate men and women, irrespective of the place. I felt then and I still feel strongly, that if we have an issue with lifestyle, either we get absorbed in the new milieu or we go back to the place we came from. Those Muslims who do not accept the freedom of expression practices in France, should go back to their country of origin. It is a fact, they will not have even the minimal freedom to survive.
Can we leave religion in the privacy domain and respect it as other personal affairs for the individuals to solve?
Not everything is hunky dory in China. Even if we have to consider that Corona virus is contained, the economy is definitely in shambles, and there is a reason why China portray the opposite. This article reveal the dynamics behind the hollow economic indicators. Reading time 6 to 7 minutes (word count 1150).
Ever Sold a Used Car without good cleanup?
The answer is no. Have you ever entered a showroom that makes you feel, you entered a warehouse? What if you want to sell and book more profit? Those who are in the stock market, know it well and they time the ‘sell’ when the shares are in the ascendency – a perfect time to book the best. Well, what would you do if you want the FDI to flow into your country? Showcase your country as one of the best destination to invest and do business. While countries like Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan chose the organic route, China chose a superficial route, cleaned its car, and put it on display.
A Pompous Display
Well, I have been clamoring for data on China falsifying its GDP. Let me chastise China by sharing a simile. We know of several businessmen, who display false success despite their hollowed debts. Such is the case of China – huge (and hollow) infrastructure, glass bridges spanning deep ravines, tall (empty) cities and buildings, rich (and unemployed) population, massive navy (with ramshackle primitive) ships, huge (untrained) army, and massive (captured) land like Tibet and Xinjian, poverty upliftment (despite rising inflation and unemployment) and above all, an astute (more than Mao-size) leader. You may call it billboard, attractive and intuitive enough to catch the attention and impress.
The Ghost Cities
Below excerpts from Financial Review (Citation link included in references). Even the casual observer driving around China can see that something is wrong. You can see it in the industrial parks that are empty except for a small handful of factories, and in the government buildings that are so large it seems impossible that they will ever fill in with civil servants, and in the airports that only sporadically host an arriving plane, and in the glut of exhibition centres and museums that every town seems compelled to build.
Chengong China – Abandoned Ghost Cities
Economy of Scale
The world across – businesses operate on a specified margin (percentages) and for a manufacturer, those numbers slip further but are compensated because of volume, typically called, ‘Economy of Scale’. China operates on a massive economy of scale. It has smartly created a premium segment, a medium segment, and a low-end segment. So everything sells very well.
‘Zero Waste’ Basket
Of course, the major segments are advanced economies and populated countries, but it shrewdly created multiple smaller market (segments) to sell its substandard products (the waste in a classic scenario) being pushed into these sub-optimally operating economies. Examples abound – from South East Asia, Asia, Africa to East Europe and Latin America. These smaller segments offer China a distinct advantage of recycling lesser quality to the multitude of countries in Africa and other struggling economies. Thus obliterating and reducing waste and saving further. These lower segments also provided a market (and a source of revenue) safeguards it from the whims of the leaders from these advanced economies who dictate terms to China or impose tariffs.
A Trojan Horse – The Land and the Sea Corridors
It is but natural to build a massive arborized network of road, rail, and sea lines to support its customer base and the raw material required to run its industry. Thus paving a way to the five land corridors and the South China Sea, that are central to this thoroughfare. The well known China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Silk Road Railway (SRR) passing through Xinjiang, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Russia, Germany, and Poland, the China Central Asia to West Asia (CCAWA) Corridor, connecting Western China to Turkey, the New Eurasian Land Bridge, connecting Western China to Western Russia via Kazakhstan and the China Indochina Corridor, connecting Southern China to Singapore, thus establishing a conveyor belt for its State Controlled (Capitalist) the Communist Middle Kingdom. I encourage the readers to visit the link from the Council of Foreign Affairs site to see how China has gobbled up the economies of over 65 nations that have subscribed to its Land Corridors (https://www.cfr.org/article/belt-and-road-tracker)
Building Castle Cards on Keynesian Philosophy
However, BRI, CPEC, SRR, CCAWA, or the new islands or its own 50+ ghost cities – all are infrastructure projects. We all know, infrastructures are capital intensive, and consumes a lot of investments. As substantiated by John Maynard Keynes (aka Keynesian Economy), I agree that the infrastructure initiatives provide a foundation for growth. However, these are cost centers and not a profit centers and the immediate returns are negative. Thus, the only way to keep the wheels spinning is to feed this investment (mortgage) with profits from the accrued business. The key here is “PROFIT AND REVENUE”. Building infrastructure needs finance and people. State can provide finance but availability of disposable human resources indicates that people are deployable for building such massive projects, a reflection of unemployment. Thus, to keep the strife from unemployment at bay, it is best to utilize them for infrastructure construction.
Let us review such massive initiatives in the backdrop of dwindling global demand, rising middle class, and a COVID imposed lockdown. If bankruptcies are common across the globe, so are they ubiquitous in China. However, in China, the nation state funds these bankruptcies. Remember, no growing economy is spared from the ‘middle income’ trap, and China has a vast swath of population that has significantly jumped beyond poverty line to middle income. That indicates it has lost its cutting edge on small manufacturing, a competitive advantage in the past.
Revisiting the Phony Businessman
Let us revisit the phony businessman I described at the outset of this article. If you are that phony hollow bankrupt businessman, and you don’t want to declare bankruptcy, you have to display that COVID-19 is completely controlled, that the economy is not just bouncing but ‘dancing in the rain’. That’s fine for the gullible outsider, but what do we do with that internal strife?
Wars are a distraction to internal turmoil
China has no option but create a war-like situation. South China Sea Discord and The Indo-China Ladakh Skirmishes are a reflection of internal turmoil and a distraction from internal strive. Many thought Xi Jinping is opening several war fronts simultaneously. Is he stupid? No, he is not on a suicidal mission. That’s not what Sun Tzu taught him. He is a smart leader with a vision for China but he is running before he has to walk. He is too ambitious.
China is a nuclear power but not a (superior) military power, as against what it displays. History is rife and reminiscent with several examples, no one can open several war fronts simultaneously and so is true with China. Xi Jinping knows that opening multiple war theatres is a definite failure. Xi’s commitment to China is undeniable, and so the war theatrics are hollow too, especially given the sudden rise of Quad, like a Sphinx in the South China Sea. If Quad is a reality, than String of Pearls in equally an existential threat. Will that mean a war? Obviously not, China wants to intimidate but will not land itself in a war. However, the probability of war rises further, with increasing tariffs and escalation of a trade war because economy is the place where it hurts most.
However, manipulating the fundamentals is a subterfuge and a grand deception for global investors. If you now recollect the example of the phony businessman, shared at the outset of this article, you will realize what I am talking about. Researchers from The Economist, Pew Research, Financial Times, or Harvard are very likely to share a similar opinion. All we have to do is keep a tight focus on fundamentals and let not China swerve us towards a ‘displayed’ billboard economy.
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As it seems from the early reports, Trump is very likely to leave the WH. Barring the theatrics, and despite being antithetical to the antics, i saw him as a bold effective leader, someone who could realize the polity and the dynamics and just not call a spade a spade, but a spade a dagger.
To be true, the Muslim Terrorism problem was a global anathema, an intimidation that was grotesquely growing its clout, only in medieval times did any religion negatively influenced the polity. In a complex society as ours, it is a complex decision to contain and control the nefarious tentacles of religion but banning, or intending to ban Muslims countries with high potential for egress of terrorism, and a target country going through a mesh of legal quagmire, made no sense. I believe, it was not a Muslim Ban, it was a ban against those Muslim nations from where terrorism had a high chance of landing on the US soil. Every sovereign nation has a right to safeguard its interests and its first duty is to protect its citizenry.
China – my favorite topic for over a decade now, is a menace to manage. Initially, it was focused on the currency and the IP. However, that was from the national interests. However, eventually, China (CPC) started revealing its real face across multiple facet of life equipments that were vulnerable to adulterated foods and ill composed drugs. 5G is a notorious example of Chinese hegemony over the electronics sector.
What most countries haven’t yet realized is the value drain from planned obsolescence. I got a feel of it when some of my equipment’s, that I bought earlier, started breakdown within 2-3 years of use, whereas similar products manufactured in other countries lasted long enough. That, i call it value safeguard. Globally, We lost significant while China amassed huge swath. Just imagine you buy a ounce of gold to realize, one tenth remained after few years. That’s value erosion.
IMF, Imperialism and Global Monetary system – Agreed, None if the western nations or first world economies are doling out largesse to poor countries. Yes, they are influencing better order as a precondition to loans or grants. However, none of these countries gobbled up land on lease for a century from any of these poor countries. International funding was always conditioned to the appetite for repaying. That’s why until China funded anything in these poor african countries, we never saw outstanding bridges and railways unseen in Europe being built in Zambia, Ghana or other striving economies such as Sri Lanka.
NAFTA, NATO and the SE Alliances – Sometimes, we get hard wired to think in a set order, never realizing there can be an alternate option or not having enough commitment to explore alternate order. Such was the case of NAFTA, a north american free trade association. It was time to revisit those as the original was drafted under different circumstances.
NATO – Yes, the US was policing the world to safeguard its allied interests. It was an imbalance where lopsided load was shared by the US. It was important to offset that imbalance.
Alliances with Japan and SE Asia – After the WW II, Japan had no army as the US took to onus to guard the defeated. Irrespective of the reason, Japan never had to pay for an active army and the US took most of the brunt. As of now, Japan has invested over 2 trillion dollar in building an ultra modern army, navy, airforce. Taiwan too bought almost equal amount of investment to rejig its military. If we would have continued the status quo, the US would have
Continued investing and all it would have got would be garlands and accolades.
Atleast, as we stand now, we have a standing army not alone from the Quads but Taiwan, Indonesia and others.
Sunni Shia Rift and integration of Israel into global polity. For long, Israel was considered a pariah state. Holocaust was real, genocide was real and under such circumstances, it wasn’t wrong if Israel demanded a land in their ancestral origin. The world did not concede and it was a massive rift, a chasm wide open. However, we have realized how those jews have painstakingly and with shrewdness, built a home for their own brethrens. Only recently, the Sunni’s have welcome the Jews. Of course, Iran still considers Israel as an anathema that needs to be wiped out, a xenophobia indeed.
The Axis of the Evil – Russia, China, Pakistan (my ethnic brother), North Korea, Iran and the new entrant, Turkey are all inciting a nuclear button, Why? Who would tame the monkeys (or call it bell the cat)? It required a brute and blunt decision maker. Pakistan is an impoverished nation and Iran’s economy is struggling. Russia, is in somnambulance while North Korea is comatose. Their only source to sustenance is a nuclear trigger. I believe, symbolic though, stepping into North Korea, dismantled that fear. Apart from journalism, i never realized any decisions being influenced by Russia. Iran was given a blanket cheque to develop nuclear arms in 10 years. I am not against sovereign nations having the rights to protect themselves but we saw what happened when Pakistan became a nuclear power. It was right to avoid that from happening.
Can Biden Presidency bring that effectiveness without the theatrics? The US is looking forward to that.
A few years back, a group of friends from my ethnicity came soliciting for Sri Athavale Maharaj, a revered spiritual guru. They solicited on behalf of him and Indian theosophy, spiritual ideology, and philosophy. I said only one thing, why do you say this to me, who is a known and revered devout spiritual leader? Why don’t you knock on any of the doors other than our ethnicity? I said that’s where you need to go.
The oracle of Delphi
Psephology is just like that, knocking the doors and finding a rationale to support our own anxiety. Of course, some convert the data into intelligence and leverage it for building strategy. However, for the sake of academic discussion, I won’t relent too much on psephology, which has multiple times been equated to ‘Oracle of Delphi’.
Anyways, we can argue endlessly, neither I nor anyone knows the outcome. Irrespective of the outcome, some people are bound to be affected, spit venom (any side) express radically but won’t be able to change. I would repeat that same question that I raised to the followers of Sri Athawale Maharaj
I visited my dentist today. He is Korean but his staff is Hispanic. To initiate a talk, I asked,
what do you who wins?
She said, abruptly cutting me short, Donald Trump,
and I said Why? Just that everyone is talking the same around me.
I said everyone, means what? Is that your ethnicity? Cross ethnic?
She said, everyone in the office, mostly white girls.
Keywords and Biases
It is a constant struggle for a human being, do we bring rationale, and do we use rationale to support our bias. Selecting news based on the keywords, we all know, is a sampling error.
In 2016, I was a die-hard anti-Trump and I would cling to every little news that would make me feel good. That news was succor, pleasing, and making me comfortable. Of course, we all know the outcome of that election. For almost 2-3 years, I watched President Trump and made my independent judgment. Today, I realize, he is an effective leader who called a spade a dagger and remained committed to his ideology. I wrote that blog, “The Biden Bid”, on mymilieu.org. It’s about Trump and his effectiveness. I am not a psephology, but at the time of writing, I evaluated the data, discerned it from the noise and sensed the pulse of the nation, and asked Joe Biden, to be as effective as Trump.
The death of Zia, did anything change?
I recollect, as a young adolescent, I saw Zia’s plane being blown off. I told my father, that now the relations between India and Pakistan will become better. He shared a snippet of wisdom, that politicians are a reflection of the polity. Nothing will change.
Once i was similarly passionate, then i realized psephology was sentiments are so unpredictable. While in college, we played elections, exactly the way you did. Later at the University Senate, again we matured and evolved and got our faculty Dean elected. Thereafter, while in Mumbai, it was even smarter. However, with age and experience you realize, the politicians make it happen for themselves by infusing us common man, with sentiments, rather exploiting our sentiments. Politics is driven by country’s challenges, wants and threats, not by ideology, the later is just an enabler.
I presume, i never understood the depth of what my father said about Zia’s death, age and experience only offers that insight. So, despite researching unbiasedly, and i will wait for Nov 3, and if it won’t go to the court, we will soon see what’s in the offing.
Committing to higher Sentiments
As I comprehend, election sentiments are a mediocre game. We are driven by sentiments, that are supported by the intellect. Waiting anxiously and holding insistently for specific results is like an 8th grader waiting to see on the top of the merit list. It is a crass deprecation of what we stand for.
We have to envision what is good for the country, for the global community and not be constrained to select segments or select material advantages. That is possibly the nemesis of democracy.
South China Sea has become a bone of contention for China and other countries around South China Sea. According to Chinese Communist Party, the “One China” encompasses almost the entire South East Asia. China has territorial disputes with almost 26 countries, including Russia.
It is just not the territorial incursions, Chinese hegemony does not stop there. China has been bending democracies, not just influencing them, to align with their hegemonist interests. We all know the life of products “Made in China”, and it obstinate adherence to planned obsolescence. We, as common man, yearn for the cheap cost, of products while not realizing we end up losing in the long term. Chinese manufacturing sly is all pervasive, and has led to global erosion of value. In this article, I have captured some aspects of the recent alignments and the emergence of a theatre for the next mega war in South East Asia.
While the world is focused on Coronavirus and the US on the theatrics and tantrums, we haven’t realized that the vacuum created by the US in the last few years has resulted in a “Chinese Hegemony” and resulted in the creation of a war theatre. If WW I and II were in Europe, the future mega war will be in South East Asia.
A huge formation has erupted since the last one year, especially after the nefarious activities post the unleashing of coronavirus. Sensing the weakness in the economies and the distraction of most countries towards handling the internal health crisis, China launched massive border expansion plans across all its frontiers, almost it has disputes with 26 countries including Russia (Pakistan and North Korea are spared🤭). Of course, it has to divert the attention away from “who created the virus?” and continue on its path of imperialism, gulping the lands of the defaulters and hobnobbing and destabilizing democracies to increase its inordinate influence. I call them masters of planned obsolescence. Not shrewd or sly but cruel businessmen, with an ambition to control the world from where their ancestors left the “middle kingdom”.
Every ethnicity, cult, culture, and country is ambitious but when those ambitions go to the point of submissions of others. that becomes a point of inflection, the potential for exploitation. That potential was seen in the last decade when Sri Lanka lost Hambantota, Pakistan lost Gwadar, several African countries lost key strategic sites, including strategic incursions and build up next to India’s East (Bangladesh) and West Coast (Pakistan just lost 2 islands close to Gujarat).
Now, the informal grouping between the US, India, Japan, and Australia is likely getting expanded to include South Korea, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Taiwan is almost an invisible epicenter. More countries playing fence seater may join, Duterte from the Philippines will have to throw in the hat.
It is important to tame these animal instincts of this dragon. Excepted, no one is sincere and dominance of one over the other creates an imbalance. However, we have to choose the lesser evil.
China’s efforts are not just to gobble up land in Ladakh or Doklam or Arunachal Pradesh.
Taiwan, a country that is separated from China, is claimed by China as its own under its One China policy. Sometimes, I fear how our memory gives way and we selectively forget Tibet. Even Uighur was never a Chinese province. It was only in the post-WW II that they annexed it. Thus, those land grabbing tendencies are totipotent (🤣), with Chinese identity.
China, an extremely nefarious nation, has to be contained. In a world dominated by China, it’s beyond imperialism, our every human initiative will be scuttled and the state will determine the human endeavor and not vice versa. Since the last 20 years that I am learning about China, I am gradually expanding the repertoire of my understanding of their instincts, their aspirations, their vision, ideology, ethnicities, culture and language, not all of which are bad. Maybe some day, I’ll write about the good and the graceful aspects of China, a civilization that demands adoration buy one thing for sure, I will always insist, by China, I mean the Communist Party dominated the polity, that ideology has corrupted the entire milieu to a state controlled capitalism.
Need Introspection and Not a Dictate (updated Oct 26, 2020)
“In today’s world, any unilateralism, protectionism, and ideology of extreme self-interest are totally unworkable, and any blackmailing, blockades and extreme pressure are totally unworkable,” Xi said. “Any actions that focus only on oneself and any efforts to engage in hegemony and bullying will simply not work—not only will it not work, but it will be a dead end.” This applies so starkly to China, I presume, Xi echoes the sentiments of the opposite party (Newsweek https://www.newsweek.com/xi-jinping-china-ready-war-trump-biden-take-hard-line-beijing-1541606). Surprisingly that’s the ‘Art of War’, by Sun Tzu but comes under the garb of Confucius philosophy.